A Year in Review: 2022

Blessings, achievements, goals, and life lessons of 2022.

“What year is it?” “20-✌️✌️”

Hello friends, followers, and various people on the internet 👋 Happy New Year! 🎊

I’m always excited to do this yearly recap because it’s a great way for me to force myself to look back on the past year.

Why Am I Writing This?

This post allows me to simultaneously:

  1. Self-reflect on my past year
  2. Share personal highlights with those who are curious or interested

These year-end reviews give me the space to recap memorable events, express gratitude, compile my personal statistics, and examine how much progress I made on my personal goals.

My Tradition Since 2016

Since 2016, I’ve been doing these posts mainly for my own records. However, these reflections may also be beneficial to others, so I write them with the intention of a public audience reading them.

For those who don’t know, I do 3 other types of journal reflections: daily, weekly, and monthly. This yearly reflection is somewhat of a compilation of those reflections but formatted in a more digestible way for the public.

Past Years In Review:

In a separate post, I’ve compiled all of the life lessons I’ve learned this year. My hope is that sharing my own hard-earned lessons will benefit those who may encounter similar challenges. I also want to compile these into a book one day, since it’s my long-term dream to become a published author.

B.A.G. Format

For my yearly reviews, I use the B.A.G. format. The acronym stands for:

B = Blessings
A = Achievements
G = Goals

The idea is that to keep yourself happy and centered, you have to reach into your “BAG” every so often. This helps me focus on gratitude looking back, celebrate wins, and then redirect my focus to the future.

What I’m Grateful For

Special INdividuals

Parents – My parents always get the first shoutout because I literally wouldn’t be here without them. I went home to the Bay Area five times this year to visit, and they always made time to hang out. Usually, I’m only visiting for a weekend, or rather a day and a half. But I always appreciate them spending time with me, especially when they have to take off work. This next year, I want to try and visit every other month, and maybe treat them out as much as I can, or as much as they’ll allow me to. They’re all stubborn when it comes to their children giving them anything, so it’s almost like pulling teeth to be generous to them.

Siblings – I’m always thankful to have such amazing and fun siblings. It’s such a fun vibe when we’re all hanging out haha. Whether it’s just going out to eat, playing games, bowling, Round 1, or karaoke, we’re almost always laughing and goofing around. I’m particularly grateful to my sister for driving me around this past year and also hosting me at her place. My little brother Jacob actually went to college in Hawaii this past year, and my baby brother Daniel went to the Philippines over the summer. I’m excited to see how they grow up in the next few years. I want to try spending as much time with them as I can before they grow up too much.

Yerson Ochoa – Yerson was my first little on Koreos, but we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together since he left the team. He also feels less like a “little” but more like a younger brother to me, just because of how our relationship dynamic is (which is why I think I subconsciously exclude him from my Littles category in my head, which I mention later on). But since leaving the team, I would see him here and there at various performances and hangouts, and our relationship has developed a lot more.

In the latter half of this year, he started to teach at Offstage and S1L and asked me to help assist teach his classes. It’s been such a fun experience because it’s less stressful than having to lead the teaching myself. I can offer help whenever he needs help with counts or details. Mirotic was the first class he taught, and it actually got me back into taking dance classes for the first time in 3-4 years. It reinvigorated my desire to dance in that setting again.

Yerson constantly inspires me with his work ethic, passion, kindness, fun vibes, and humility. In my opinion, he’s easily the best and most well-rounded dancer that has ever been on Koreos. We’re actually in the same project teams together (Untitled, Playground, Hanyu), so hopefully we’ll be able to dance more this next year.

Bao Vu – I mentioned in last year’s review that Bao has been like the glue for our team, both dance-wise and community-wise. He constantly inspires me as a teammate because of his dedication and love for the team. He’s one of the friends I’m most grateful for. One of my goals last year was to lean into a leadership role on Koreos so that it would alleviate some of the burdens he put upon himself when he stepped up as LSHIP. With friends, it always saddens us to see our friends stressed out, so I genuinely wanted to do what I could to help.

Working with him on LSHIP has been great as it feels like we’re able to shape the team into something better. And at the end of the year, he mentioned that he’s much happier and less stressed than he was last year, which I was so glad to hear. Friends love seeing their friends living their best life, and I’m glad that my friend seems to be in a better place than before. Bao is easily one of my closest friends on the team, and for that, I greatly appreciate him.

Jamie Kim – Even though Jamie probably thinks I’m super annoying (because I’m always trying to bug her), I have nothing but admiration for her. She’s an excellent leader, very organized, an impactful teacher, and strives to be her best self for herself and those around her. I’ll always appreciate what she has done for us: bringing our group together through Hanyu, dealing with our shenanigans, and still being a shining example for us. I always say (sort of jokingly) that when I grow up I want to be like Jamie, but it’s the honest truth haha. I want to be dancing and spreading positivity and energy to those around me like she does, no matter what age I am.

Shasia Rangel – Like Bao, Shasia is someone else who makes the list for the second year in a row haha. This past half year, our relationship evolved a bit as we transitioned into leaders on the team, so it’s been interesting working together to help make the team better. It has also been a lot of fun dancing with her outside of Koreos with our other circles of friends through Playground, No Limits, Untitled, and Hanyu.

Shasia is one of the few people in my life with whom I can have a deep, 2-hour conversation with one night, and then try to bother each other for fun the next night haha. She also is one of my dance inspirations as she can kill almost any style she learns, and she’s always striving to improve herself as a person in all aspects. She’s very thoughtful and kind to others, cuts through the bullshit when necessary, and is always fun to hang out with.

She even brought me to Disney this past year! That was such an unexpected and fun trip (shout out to her sister for giving us the free tickets). I also visited her a couple times at her workplace and she let me steal their snacks haha. To me, sometimes the little things are the big things.

I’m super grateful to have her in my life, and I’m honored to be a part of her own journey. Although… she explicitly admitted that people tend to like her more than she likes them, so I guess that’s sort of depressing from a friend’s perspective LOL.

Jae Kim – Looking back, I would have never guessed that I would be seeing this guy 3-4 times a week. For those who don’t know Jae, he’s a very social, extroverted, fun-loving Korean-American dude who loves to say that he has a degree in math, but then proceed to inaccurately calculate our party’s restaurant bill split :P. He is also slightly socially awkward at times and tends to dig himself into a hole when engaging in casual conversation. Sometimes he veers into fallacious generalizations, and then we have to gently correct him.

But after spending a lot of time with him, I learned that if you dig a bit under the surface, you’ll find out he’s one of the most authentic and genuine people you’ll ever meet. He’s kind, hardworking, and very considerate of others. What I admire most about Jae is that he’s very humble and open-minded. He’s always trying to grow, take feedback, and become better than he was yesterday.

Since working out with him consistently this past year, he’s also learning to not make excuses, to honor his commitments, and just do the hard work. For a workout buddy and a friend, these are some of the best qualities to have. Most of all, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and is able to laugh when we make jokes about something strange that he does haha.

Julie Huynh – Julie is probably one of my oldest friends who I still have a close and consistent relationship with. This past year, we even lived together in the same house for a bit before she moved out for family reasons. But Julie is one of the few people in my life who I can have a really deep, open, and vulnerable conversation with. We’ve had conversations that span 4-5 hours without us even noticing.

Like most people on this list, Julie is someone who is kind, very giving without asking for anything in return, and is always trying to become a better version of herself each day. Her strength and fortitude inspire me, and I’m thankful to call her my friend.

Blessie Panopio – Nobody makes me laugh, smile, or feel cared for more than this girl. She’s one of the silliest people I know, makes me feel understood (mostly because she always laughs at my jokes), and is the best partner in crime when it comes to pretty much anything (food adventures, traveling, trying new things, content creation, etc). She’s kind to everyone around her, doesn’t take herself too seriously, has a great sense of humor, is a pun queen, is the perfect combination of sexy and cute (lmao), and is also always trying to become a better person.

I always appreciate our candid conversations and how we dedicate time every month to work on our relationship. She’s also very considerate of my crazy schedule, for which I’m very appreciative. Being with her has made me a better person and inspires me to continue to be better.

Groups of People

Koreos & LSHIP – I’m thankful that Koreos has been a big part of my life for the last 4 years. I joined the team when I was in a transitional period in my life, and it was just the thing I needed to get back on track. When I started my 4th year on the team, going into a leadership position felt like the natural next step. I wanted to help make the team a place where people feel inspired, connected, and proud to be a part of.

Lemon 2.0 era really felt like a rebirth of the team, or rather the birth of a new generation. Most of the old-era members have moved on, and a majority of the team were new members. This made it feel like a fresh, new team. The caveat was that the older members knew how things were and wanted it to be better. Being a veteran member of the team came with a feeling of responsibility, especially to the younger members. Some of them looked up to Koreos in middle school and high school as their dream team. By the end of the year, I wanted to make Koreos into the team they imagined being on.

This past Fall quarter felt like an overall win for us. Many of our returning members have expressed how much more organized, effective, and healthy the team feels. Our new members even said that they have had a great experience so far.

I’m so grateful to my fellow LSHIP for all the hard work they’ve put into this team. We hit the ground running since day 1, and managed to keep it together as a cohesive unit. I’ve heard about the struggles, politics, and toxicity that have plagued past LSHIPS, and I’m so thankful that our LSHIP this year feels nothing like that. I’m a big proponent that the health of a team is a direct reflection of the health of the leaders. I’m excited for what’s to come for the rest of the year, and for the midyear choco babies who just joined the team!

My (active) littles: Jade, Ariel, Rin, Lisa, Tia, Tory – I have a unique relationship with my littles individually and as a whole. On the one hand, they’re my Littles, so I’m supposed to be like an older brother. But because of the age difference and how I see/relate to them, they’re more like daughters than anything (compared to how I see Yerson, who is actually like a younger brother to me).

With the youngest ones (Rin, Ariel, Jade), we have a 10-12 years age difference. I honestly felt like their dad because I wanted to protect them from any drama within the team. Unfortunately, our team has had a good amount of this in the past which made some of my previous teammates feel very disconnected. I wanted to make the team better so that they could have an amazing Koreos experience. To support them through their challenges, and help them feel like they belonged. They were easily one of the biggest motivations for my joining LSHIP.

Tia and Lisa joined our fam later in the school year, and they raised the average age of our fam a bit haha. I was so happy to have them as additional daughters as they’re some of my favorite dancers and people on the team.

I’ve grown the closest to Lisa in particular because of how much time we spent together through the other projects and our long car chats when we carpooled from OC before she moved. I love how she’s just a real, authentic person, and is one of the kindest people I know. She’s one of the few people I can remember who I liked even before we met because of her reputation for being a caring person. It’s funny how we’ve been in the same friend circles for 3-4 years, but finally met recently and ended up as family haha.

Jade and I also hung out a lot this year, especially after she came back from Korea and when the new school year started. Despite being a little rowdy at times, she’s one of the most thoughtful and caring people I know. Not only that, she’s a hard worker and very ambitious, so I’m excited to see what she does in the future. I always get on her case about not sleeping and eating enough, but I hope she’ll listen to me one day and take better care of herself because I always worry about her.

With Rin, I hardly ever hang out or dance with her anymore because she has a lot of other commitments outside of the team, and we’re usually in separate subunits. But my goal every practice is to say “hi” to her at least once to show that I’m still thinking of her despite the limited time we spend together. And I’m just happy that she still enjoys being on the team and wanted to come back for Choco era. To this day, she still inspires me with her kindness and the level of excellence she puts into everything she does. I’m hoping she’ll be in my life for a long time because I still admire her so much.

Funny enough, Ariel and I have been in 5 of the last 6 subunits together, so I think I’ve actually seen her the most, dance-wise. Of the last four years I’ve been on the team, she’s still one of my favorite performers that have ever been on Koreos. I enjoy making her laugh by being goofy, but I also get the feeling she gets annoyed at me and is embarrassed by me more often than not 😅. I honestly feel like a dad with her, in that I just want her to like me and think I’m cool. But I’m probably cursed with never being cool to her because goofy dads are never cool. :’D

Tia and I have probably spent the least amount of time together. But what I love about Tia is that she’s not only amazingly talented, but she’s so prolific as a dancer. She’s constantly doing covers with the team as well as her own covers. And she kills everything she does! Although we’re not that close, I feel like I’ll still always admire her passion and dedication from afar.

Tory (Tia’s older sister and my grand-little) joined late in the year, but I was so happy that she joined our fam. She’s one of the sweetest people on the team and so genuine. She’s the type of person everyone is drawn to because of her warmth, and I love the energy she brings to our team. She’s not only multi-talented (like the rest of our fam actually), but she’s an amazing cook! I’m also excited to hang out with her more this upcoming year.

While we’ve had a lot of fun in our family hangouts, it has admittedly been a bit challenging for me. I’m usually the one trying to initiate these hangouts so that we can spend time together outside of practice, but it gets really difficult with our schedules. And especially since there are six of us with six different schedules (now seven with Tory). I know they’re busy and have other priorities, and that’s totally fine. One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year is to not take things so personally. Easier said than done, but still a worthwhile endeavor.

But to wrap this up, I’ll sprinkle some gratitude on it. I’m thankful that they all have had good enough experiences last year to want to rejoin this year. And even if we’re not super close, I’m glad they seemed to have found other close friends on the team.

Karaoke Crew – I mentioned this last year but this group is special to me because I feel like they’re a group I personally curated. We were brought together by our common love of karaoke. Over time, it evolved into a group that loves to do anything and everything together. This past year, we’ve eaten at countless food places, watched movies, gone to Universal Studios, bought Six Flags passes, did archery, taken dance classes, had working sessions, got bowling passes, and of course went to karaoke. I love that our group always has good vibes and is devoid of any drama. Everyone seems to play a particular role in the group which makes us seem like a team, or maybe a very mixed-looking family LOL. I’m excited for when we finally travel outside of the country together, and potentially have our group expand haha.

Hanyu / Old Crew – I grouped these two together although they were technically separate at first. Hanyu was originally just me, Bao, Shasia, Phuc, Genesis, and Dan (excluding Jamie), and Old Crew (formerly O.C. 2.0 because we were sort of all from OC), was just me, Bao, Phuc, Dan, Genesis and Jessi. We eventually added Lisa before she moved away, and then added Yerson when he moved closer. Later, Lisa was added to Hanyu, and eventually Yerson as well.

Then a few weeks ago, I just suggested we add Shasia to OC and Yerson to Hanyu because it was essentially the same group of people, haha. And it was kind of weird trying to coordinate group hangouts when Shasia or Yerson weren’t in that particular chat.

So now we have this sort of large group of older people, current or former Koreos members, who are all over the LA/OC area. I love and appreciate each one of them. As crazy as we all are together, I wouldn’t change a single thing about any of them.

New dance friends (No Limits, Untitled, Playground) – This year I was fortunate to be a part of three No Limits covers, one Playground cover, an Untitled performance, and a handful of hangouts/parties with the larger KPOP dance community. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by some of the most talented dancers, but also the most down-to-earth people.

Special shout out to some of the cool, new friends I met this year: Chiara, Kat Chen, Ashley, Zi, Chrisen, Daniel, Yuki, Asia, Brandon, Ellie, Matt, Kat, Yukiko, Shirley, Linda, Leila, and a few others I know I’m missing.

Stats / Achievements

Books read: 23

Movies watched in theaters: 53 (via AMC A-List + others)

TV Shows & Anime watched: 14

  • The Cleaning Lady
  • Tenjho Tenge
  • One Piece
  • Testament of New Sister Devil
  • Attack on Titan
  • Do You Love Your Mom and her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
  • The Irregular at Magic High School
  • The Greatest Demon Lord Is Reborn as a Typical Nobody
  • Spy x Family
  • She-Hulk
  • What Are You Doing Here Sensei?
  • A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist
  • Bunny Senpai
  • Fairy Tail

Videogames played: 7

  • Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (1/24-2/3)
  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (2/2-2/18)
  • Assassin’s Creed: Origins (2/17-3/19)
  • Far Cry 5 (3/18-4/1)
  • The Last of Us Part II (3/31-4/13)
  • Far Cry 6 (4/11-6/3)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (6/3-7/14)

Karaoke Crew hangouts: 20

  • 1/29 – Psych Ward escape room, Matcha Maiko, DDD Karaoke
  • 4/2 – Birthday celebration @Round1
  • 5/1 – Paint-Nic Potluck
  • 5/20 – Jae’s birthday dinner & karaoke
  • 6/11 – DDD Karaoke
  • 6/24 – Pang Pang Karaoke
  • 7/9 – Hao’s birthday hangout: golf range + Korean chicken dinner
  • 7/31 – gym, chipotle, and Starbucks hangout
  • 8/27 – KBBQ, Davien, and DDD Karaoke
  • 9/10 – J’s Korean Chicken, Bruery Tasting room, Somi Somi, McDonalds
  • 9/17 – Universal Studios HHN
  • 10/1 – Matcha Maiko, DDD Karaoke, Korean hotdog, Davien
  • 10/8 – Hi-Tech Archery, Fiesta Grill, ACT comedy show
  • 11/11 – DDD Karaoke w/ S1L crew
  • 12/1 – Blessie’s birthday dinner @Benihana
  • 12/9 – DDD Karaoke
  • 12/19 – Marco’s birthday dinner @ThaiOriginalBBQ
  • 12/23 – Friendsmas White Elephant @MarcheMoto & @GongCha
  • 12/30 – Butaton Ramen, DDD Karaoke, Matcha Maiko
  • 12/31 – 7 Leaves, AMC: Violent Night, Red Flame hotpot

Reindeer Family hangouts: 8

  • 1/16 – Round 1 + Koreos Orientation (Jade x Rin)
  • 2/11 – Daiso, Kura Sushi, Beard Papa, Millet Crepe (Ariel x Jade)
  • 4/14 – Kura Sushi, Wanderlust, Monopoly Deal (Ariel x Rin)
  • 5/14 – Korean soup, karaoke, boba (Ariel x Lisa x Rin)
  • 5/29 – Kura Sushi, Volcano Tea House (Ariel x Rin x Tia)
  • 8/12 – KPOP Night event @DTLA (Jade x Lisa)
  • 8/28 – Emporium Thai, Meet Fresh (Jade x Tia)
  • 10/9 – Rodeo Drive, Wanderlust Creamery (Jade x Lisa x Tia)

Blood donations: 3

  • March 8
  • August 4
  • November 30

Flights / Trips: 12 / 6

  • Seattle 1/8-1/10
  • NorCal 2/25-2/26
  • NorCal 6/10-6/11
  • NorCal 8/26-8/27
  • NorCal 11/4-11/5
  • NorCal 11/24-11/26

Dance Teams / Projects: 5

  • Koreos Lemon Era 2.0 & Choco Era
  • Playground
  • Untitled
  • Hanyu
  • No Limits

Gym workouts: 7,4,8,8,10,10,15,22,9,8,11,14 = 126 sessions

Bowling high score after 5 weeks: 186

Memorable Moments:

1/8-10 – Hanyu trip to Seattle

2/6 – Tet Festival Talent Competition judging w/ Dorothy & BK

2/16 – Twice Concert Medley filming

In Secret Hitler, I usually investigate or kill my littles first
bc they’re actually the best at this game #proudbig

2/19-21 – Koreos Photoshoot + Retreat

2/25-26 – NorCal trip

3/4 – O.C. hangout at THH, Cafe&Te, Idol Karaoke, Past memories

3/10 – HB comedy show & Raquel Lily’s LA concert

3/18 – AMC: Jujutsu Kaisen 0 w/ Koreos people, games @Anne’s dorm, Nhi’s car accident

3/19 – Hanyu filming & hangout @Phuc’s place

3/25 – JoKoy @TheForum

4/1 – Panorama filming & dinner @SunNongDan

4/2 – Birthday celebration w/ Karaoke Crew @Round1

4/5 – Birthday dinner @Benihana

4/7 – Birthday escape room @CrossRoads (The Hex Room)

Guess which 2 people killed us all. Hint: they’re good at math

4/9 – Game night @Genesis’s place

We love horse chips

4/15 – Yelp Event: Romeo & Juliet ballet @Segerstrom w/ Julie

4/24 – K-Factor + Untitled afterparty

4/25 – Disneyland w/ Shasia

4/30 – Otis College KPOP performance

5/1 – Paint-Nic Potluck w/ Karaoke Crew

5/1 – Big/Little reveal!

We added Lisa & Tia to the fam ❤

5/5 – Cinco De Mayo w/ Hanyu

We had to invite Shasia bc it wouldn’t be right w/o her

5/7 – Zack Tabudlo concert (+informal JR & Blessie meet & greet)

5/13 – OC Night Market w/ Old Crew

5/20 – Jae’s birthday celebration

Guess which friend is the one who cares

5/27 – Round1 w/ Old Crew

6/4 – Koreos Banquet + afterparty

6/8 – Last Koreos hangout @UCLA

6/10-11 – NorCal trip for sister’s birthday

6/18 – Spa date in LA

6/26 – Hot filming & hangout

7/7 – Shasia’s birthday dinner

7/9 – Hao’s birthday hangout

7/21 – Yelp’s Roaring 20’s Event

So much free food and alcohol that I almost felt like throwing up

7/23 – Skating rink date in Long Beach

This was so much fun, especially helping Blessie learn how to skate

8/6 – Date day: Filipino festival, Shootz grand opening, Spo-Cha, AMC: Easter Sunday

8/12 – KPOP Night in DTLA

8/26-27 – NorCal trip

9/1 – SHERO dance training (taught mine and Austyn’s choreo to DM)

I’m actually a huge fan of SHERO and lowkey wanna join 😀

9/3-5 – Jacinta’s birthday trip @BigBear

This photo makes it seem like we were outdoors when in fact we were mostly inside all weekend

9/17 – Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night w/ Karaoke Crew

9/25 – Koreos Choco Era Auditions & Orientation

9/26 – Shut Down filming w/ Reindeer fam

Ariel was here, but she left before Rin arrived T_T

9/30 – Phuc’s birthday hangout @Dan’s place

10/1 – Karaoke Crew hangout @DDD & @DV

10/8 – Archery & comedy show w/ Karaoke Crew

10/21 – Lisa’s housewarming & new job costume party

Funny how Lisa’s TikTok of us went viral

10/22 – Talk that Talk filming & KPOP Clubbing performance

10/29 – Koreos Halloween Social

10/31 – Halloween event @Bopomofo

11/2 – Hot filming + dinner @SunNongDan

Always missing one. This time it was Lisa

11/4-5 – NorCal trip: J&L’s wedding, SJ Art & Tech museums

11/6 – Family reveal w/ grand-little Tory

11/11 – Watched One Piece Film Red!

Legit cried so hard T_T

11/12 – Lisa’s birthday cover filming + KBBQ

We didn’t take any photos of the filming or dinner, but here’s us “surprising” her w/ cake at practice

11/17 – Blessie’s birthday lunch + workout

11/18 – Lisa’s birthday party @Kat&Matt’s house

11/19 – Cassie’s baby shower

11/21 – Blue Flame filming + dinner @SunNongDan

11/26 – Round1 & Karaoke hangout

11/27 – Koreos Thanksmas Social & Retro

12/1 – Blessie’s birthday dinner @Banihana

12/3 – Hanyu performance for KAMA in DTLA

12/3 – Phuc’s going away party

Old dudes. Also, this photo has 4 Filipinos in it lol (hint: not Yerson)
Also funny how the only photo I have doesn’t have Phuc in it.

12/5 – Six Flags trip + Round1

12/8 – 3-Year anniversary lunch ❤

Not sure who was copying who

12/10 – Matt’s surprise party

Old men + Jade

12/11 – Hanyu Holiday Potluck

12/17 – Julie’s birthday celebration

12/23 – Karaoke Crew Friendsmas @MarcheMoto

12/24 – Christmas Eve party @Lisa’s

She the realest for inviting us over last minute ❤

12/25 – Christmas dinner & hangout w/ Old Crew

12/31 – NYE hangout w/ Karaoke Crew

General Thoughts on 2022

Health Issues

This past year was honestly such a rollercoaster for me in terms of my personal health. While I feel like I’ve been working out consistently and I am probably the strongest I’ve ever been, I’ve also had some weird health concerns. This was really surprising considering that I exercise, meal prep, eat healthily, and take sleep probably a bit more seriously than most of my friends, or at least people my age.

One issue I had was this drastic lower back pain that seemed to come out of nowhere in the 2nd half of the year, near the end of summer and the beginning of fall. I woke up one day with debilitating pain that didn’t allow me to bend over without extreme discomfort. The next couple of months I took stretching and warmups more seriously, especially before and after gym sessions and dance rehearsals.

I had a few other surprises that really affected my overall energy, and thus my motivation and mood. Because of that, I drastically changed my eating habits, cut out some things I suspected might have been causing these issues, and started to take sleeping on-time more seriously. I’ve been especially trying to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep consistently every night.

It’s been a humble awakening for me, and I think it might be God’s way of saying that even if I’m doing the right things relative to other people, I can always do better on a personal level.

It has made me feel not only gratitude for what I do have, but for things not being worse than they are. It’s also a reminder to me that I have to rely on Him for strength, guidance, and healing, and not my own power.

This next year, I’m committed to living my best, healthiest year yet. This reflection helped me choose my 2023 theme of the year, which I discuss later in this post.

Growing as a Leader/Mentor/Teacher/Coach

Looking back on this year, I noticed that I’ve had a lot more opportunities to grow as a leader, mentor, teacher, and coach. I’ve discovered through years of self-reflection that my strengths, abilities, and passions lie in serving in these sorts of roles. I find myself energized when I can coach someone through a problem I’ve had. While I celebrate my own growth, I’m even happier for my student’s growth and success. Being able to pass on my own hard-earned lessons to others as a teacher makes the struggles more worth it. And helping guide others to work cohesively towards a common goal makes a greater impact than anything I can do alone.

One of the clearest examples of leaning into this role is joining Koreos LSHIP in the second half of the year as its Internal Relations Coordinator. In a nutshell, my role facilitates greater team health, both between individual members and among all members as a whole. We’ve achieved this by aligning our core values and enacting practices that promote greater team trust, safety, and engagement.

Leading a team comes with a whole host of responsibilities which we do almost solely for the benefit of our team. We don’t get paid or compensated for it. It’s a lot of hard work that isn’t too bad when you genuinely care about the team. I love that our focus is simply to create a great experience for the current and future eras.

I honestly love serving in this role. Even though the position means I also have to organize social events (something I don’t care for too much), it’s a great learning experience to not take things personally when people don’t want to engage, participate, or come out to our planned activities. And the people who do participate more often have a much better experience. The environment and opportunities we provide allow our teammates to bond and build relationships with each other.

Teaching-wise, I’ve had the fortune of being a dance teacher at both Charade Dance Academy (Garden Grove) and KPC (Buena Park), as well as a teaching assistant at Offstage (Orange) and S1L Studios (Irvine) for Yerson. I also still teach private lessons occasionally at Atomic Ballroom (Irvine). I’ve said this before, but while I enjoy dancing, I enjoy teaching dance even more, especially to beginners who come with an “empty cup,” so to speak. Teaching KPOP classes is always fun, but teaching in more intimate, private lessons allows me to drill into the fundamental techniques for my students, which really helps accelerate their growth from where they are to where they want to be.

As a mentor, being a Big to 5 people on the team (and a Grand-big to 1), has been one of the most rewarding, inspiring, and challenging things in my life this year. The feeling of being “responsible” for these more junior members (on the team and in life) changed my perspective and gave me a new drive regarding how I approached the team. It almost felt like I had adopted 5 daughters, and I wanted to not only protect them but make sure they had the best experience being on Koreos. The biggest reason why I joined LSHIP and wanted to get rid of the culture of gossip, cliquiness, and politics on the team was so that they wouldn’t have to experience it like in past eras. No team is perfect, and all teams have these problems. But I felt like if I knew I could make things better for them and the team, I had a responsibility to do so. And having that sort of mission is empowering. It helps you get through all of the tedious work that leaders have to do on a daily basis.

This year, I’ve also had the fortune of being an informal relationship, dating, financial, and fitness coach to several of my close friends. They say your passions are what you’d do for free without any benefit to yourself. I’ve given free coaching to others just because I knew it could help improve those aspects of their lives and solve certain problems they were facing. These are areas where I had to struggle and learn lessons the hard way, so I was happy to pass along my personal insights. This experience is also the biggest reason why I want to seriously explore coaching as a future career. It’s clearly something that lights me up and gives me energy. And if I can make a living off of it, that would be cool too.

Goals for 2022

Theme for 2022: Consistency

Looking back on the year, I would probably give myself a 3 out of 5 in terms of how closely I followed this theme. While I was inconsistent in some aspects, I maintained consistency in the areas that were important, such as my weekly habits, dance, my relationship, and how I interacted with others.

I think the most inconsistent things this past year were probably my sleep, diet, and fitness regimen. I think those things negatively impacted my health in the latter half of the year. This is also why protecting and enhancing my energy is going to be a focus for next year.

Content Creation
  • 1M followers on J&B TikTok
    • Strategy: Continue creating content consistently, experiment, and collab with other creators
      • Not achieved: We plateaued at just under 900k followers on TikTok, but it’s also because we deprioritized content creation this year for other activities. I’m curious to see where we want to take this endeavor in the next year though
  • 10% body fat
    • Strategy: 5-6 workouts per week, 4-5 planned meals per day, daily caloric deficit, get 7-8 hours of sleep consistently
      • Partially achieved: My sleep and diet were so out-of-wack for parts of the year due to my inconsistent schedule. But I’m hoping to improve this a lot in 2023. However, I did gain 10ish pounds of muscle so that’s really going to help for next year.
  • Become a leader on the team and set a good example
    • Strategy: Apply for LSHIP, continue to set a positive example for teammates, and push for new team process improvements
      • Achieved: I became part of LSHIP this year and have gotten feedback from returners that the team is much healthier than before, which I consider a metric for success
  • Buy property (condo, townhome, house)
    • Strategy: Keep increasing savings for DP, look for properties in NorCal & SoCal, find real estate agent
      • Partially achieved: I’ve been continuously and aggressively saving for my down payment, and my savings is a decent amount now. I’ve also researched properties already. Just need to start honing in on places with my mom and possibly my aunt this next year.
  • At least 1-2 open mics per month
    • Strategy: Write down jokes as they come to mind, set aside weekly time to refine material, sign up for bi-weekly open mic slots
      • Not achieved: I deprioritized doing standup comedy for dance and deepening relationships this year. It wasn’t necessarily a loss because those things are important to me.
  • Get certified in Life/Relationship Coaching
    • Strategy: Choose a company/course and complete it
      • Partially achieved: I finished my research into different programs and finally settled on one. I’ve also had a lot of practical experience this year. In 2023, I’ll officially start my program and get finally certified.

Goals for 2023

Theme for 2023: Energy & Vitality

As I previously mentioned, one of my biggest challenges in 2022 was a handful of health concerns that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Because of that, I’m committing this year to focus my habits and activities around things that promote high levels of energy and vitality.

Nutrition and fitness-wise, this means eating foods that promote long-lasting and healthy energy, as well as cutting out things detrimental to longevity. For example, cutting back drastically on processed foods, sugars, synthetic ingredients, alcohol, and even caffeine. And eating more consistently healthy and whole foods. This also means committing to a consistent sleep schedule above all else, being consistent with my training regimen, and protecting my body by doing less risky exercises. I would also like to explore new avenues for holistic training that promote mobility and flexibility like yoga or other alternatives.

Activity-wise, energy and vitality means focusing on activities that light me up and give me energy. Things that are envigorating because they align with my passions and talents. Right now, activities that I know bring me this energy involve comedy, freestyle dance, teaching/mentoring, intellectual conversations, developing new skills, and growing my spirituality through my church.

People-wise, this means continuing to surround myself with people who uplift and inspire me. To spend more of my time with people who support and encourage me. To be around those who hold themselves to a higher standard, and therefore push me to want to be a better person. Those who exude kindness, empathy, and compassion for others, and put into practice what they preach. Likewise, that means distancing myself from those whose essence is negativity, gossip, and drama. Those who speak down on others instead of speaking up to their higher selves. I want to remove myself from the circles of people who don’t hold any level of standards for themselves and are only concerned about their own well-being.

By the end of 2023, I’ll look back and feel like everything I’ve done has helped contribute to my new level of energy and vitality I have at that moment. I’ll have woken up every morning feeling more alive and energized than the previous day. This is due to the commitment I made to live a better life through my small, daily decisions.

Content Creation
  • Publish 12 episodes of my new podcast
    • Strategy / Action steps: Get the artwork done, find a hosting website, find a location to record, schedule guests, and possibly hire a consultant to help me set everything up
  • Get back to 10-12% body fat and maintain it for most of the year
    • Strategy / Action steps: Find a means of accountability (fitness coach, DietBet, etc), establish a consistent sleep schedule, simplify my meal prep process
  • Attend 12 freestyle sessions
  • Post weekly freestyle videos
    • Strategy / Action steps: Reach out to freestyle friends, join a freestyle community, and commit to blocking off time for it
  • Double my Property DP savings account size
  • Start homebuying process
    • Strategy / Action steps: Find a realtor (through networks), compile list of areas / homes that fit our criteria
  • Do at least 10 open mics
    • Strategy / Action steps: Block off time to write and rehearse jokes, join the standup comic community, find more open mic locations
  • Get certified in Life/Relationship Coaching
    • Strategy / Action steps: Purchase Relationship Coaching Academy, finish program, get certification

Themes, Lessons, and Insights of 2022

I’ve created a separate addendum to this main post. It covers my lessons learned throughout 2022. Click on the header above to be redirected to that post.

Below are the main categories that encompass the list of insights I’ve compiled for the year.

Main Categories

  • Leadership & Relationships
  • Success & Happiness
  • Health & Well-Being

Thank you 2022 For Challenging Me To Grow

One thought on “A Year in Review: 2022”

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